As you gain experience in your field, it makes sense to ask for a freelance rate increase. However, this isn’t often that easy to put into practice. In many cases, if you want clients to pay you more, you’ll need to convince them you’re worth that money.
That means you’ll need to learn how to negotiate. After all, it’s an essential part of working on your own. If you can learn how to sell yourself as someone at the top of their field, you’ll be in an excellent position to ask for more money.
In this article, I’ll walk you through three methods I use to convince clients I’m worth premium freelance rates and how you can put them in action. Let’s do this!
1. Always Send Unique Pitches
Most freelance writing relationships start with a pitch. A client posts a job opening, and you take your best shot at convincing them you’ve got the right pen for the job. This step is critical because you don’t want to work with someone who would hire anyone as long as they fit their budget. You want to work for high-paying clients showing discernment in who they hire.
In my experience, the fastest way to a client’s heart is to talk value. Chances are they’ve heard a lot of pitches from writers gushing about how much they’d love to work together, but numbers tend to be more efficient. Here’s an example of a pitch that cuts straight to the chase:
I’m very interested in your opening for a tech writer. If you take a minute to check out my portfolio, you’ll see I have experience with other top blogs in the field and I’m currently on staff for X website. While working together, we’ve increased traffic nearly twofold by focusing on topics that people want to read about and conversions have risen accordingly. I want to take my experience and bring it to your blog, so we can grow it to its full potential.
It’s short and right to the point. More importantly, it tells your potential client you understand their primary goal is to grow their audience and increase conversions. That’s a goal almost every blog shares, so it’s a pretty good bet most of your clients do too.
When you’re writing your next pitch, use this example as your inspiration. However, you can always add more specific personal details so it is relevant and unique. For example, some clients may be too busy to visit your portfolio, so you might want to link to a couple of pieces you think would pique their interest.
2. Keep Your Portfolio Up-to-Date
A freelance writer’s portfolio is his not-so-secret weapon. You can have plenty of prestigious articles published around the web, but sometimes, people need to see them all side by side so they can appreciate how awesome you are.
If you have an excellent portfolio, you may land jobs before you exchange those first emails. With that in mind, I’ve found one of the best ways to identify good freelancers is by checking out which of them keep their portfolios up to date. If your portfolio displays a bunch of pieces from two or three years ago, I’m going to think you fell off the face of the earth and clients will too. Let’s talk about some of the ways you can keep your portfolio on the cutting edge:
- Showcase a small group of your absolute best work on its homepage (think three to five articles). That’s enough to show depth, but not so much that clients will feel overwhelmed.
- Ask your past clients if they’d like to share their thoughts about your work and if they’d mind if you published them on your portfolio.
- Include at least one good picture of yourself, preferably on your homepage. It’s a small thing, but it helps visitors feel more at ease.
It might sound counterproductive to limit the amount of work you showcase in your portfolio. However, you’ve got to remember that most people have short attention spans while online. That means you have to get their attention fast and showcasing your top work increases your chances of them clicking on at least one article.
If you’re ready to take your portfolio out for a spin, remember to link clients to it during your email pitches. For those of you currently facing a drought of new clients (it happens to everyone), you should check out the Paid to Blog Jobs board and get to work on pitching some new ones.
3. Offer Upsells for Your Services
Chances are you’re familiar with the concept of upselling. You’re about to purchase something, and someone tells you about a better offer for just a little extra money. It’s simple enough, and you can apply it to writing as a way to increase your freelance rates.
Imagine, for example – you’re discussing your rates with a new client. You tell him your base rate is $0.06 per word but that only includes writing articles. However, for $0.09 per word, you’ll submit outlines for their approval, topic ideas, and source your own images. In this case, you’re making an offer that’s superior at a rate that’s close enough to your initial one they’ll stop and think about it. This makes clients feel like they’re getting a bargain and if you don’t get to charge the rates you want, then at least you won’t have to do as much work. Let’s break down how to come up with upsells of your own:
- Provide clients with a base rate that doesn’t include all the perks of your work.
- Whenever you’re pitching a new client, break down what your rates are with an emphasis on your upsell.
- Mention how much your work those extra perks can save them, to seal the deal.
Of course, not all clients will bite. However, you’re putting the offer out there and marketing yourself as a salesman would. That alone is enough to increase your chances of successfully raising your freelance rates!
If you’ve been around the block a few times, chances are you’re due for a freelance rate increase. Sometimes it takes courage to ask for that raise. However, if you’re confident about your work and the value it provides to your clients, there’s no reason to be shy. Just don’t go overboard and triple your freelance rates in one go!
Here are the three methods I use to convince clients I’m worth premium rates:
- Sending unique pitches that focus on the value I can bring to their business.
- Keeping my portfolio up to date with the best projects I’ve worked on and quotes from clients.
- Providing upsells often, so customers feel like they’re getting an excellent deal (which they are!).
Do you have any questions about how to start charging more as a freelancer? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.